Contentment vs. My Desires
Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Moving out has been a pretty wonderful thing for my prayer life. My family is a praying family, so it's not like I couldn't have my quiet time in the morning when I lived at home. But when you live with 5 other people, it's kind of tough to find real privacy for something as simple as praying out loud.
Now that I live on my own, I've started using half of my walk-in closet as a prayer space. There are post-its all over the wall with praises and prayer requests... it's great. I love this part of my #DeckDevotional time.
This morning I had a rather inspired time of prayer. For the first time that I can remember I talked to God about my singleness. There was no tone of frustration or heartbreak - we were just talking. I laid out my heart with confidence and abandon.
"God I want these things - I want to be a wife and a mother one day, I want the family life, I'm ready to date again."
At the same time, I expressed that if He simply doesn't have that for me, I will find contentment in that, too. And I meant it.
It was a freeing time of prayer.
As my morning went on God starting connecting some dots in my head regarding this idea of contentment and here's where it lead -
I think we tend to fall into believing the lie that being content is synonymous with ignoring or suppressing the fact that we have desires; that the only way to find contentment is to eliminate the desires of our heart. (This concept has its roots in Buddhism, by the way).
That is a lie from the enemy!
In Psalm 37:4, David writes -
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
If we were expected not to have desires, this promise wouldn't exist.
Now, does it mean that we get everything we want if we pray and read our Bibles? No, that interpretation is a lie from the enemy, too; a lie the enemy will use to convince you that God's Word does not stand true because "you didn't get your way yet." It's a lie that leads to these thoughts -
"If God gives me the desires of my heart, then why:
Am I still single?"
Don't I have kids yet?"
Can't I get that promotion at work?"
Am I not plugged into a fulfilling ministry?"
Has there not been reconciliation with my friend/family?"
Have you asked any of those questions before? Or one that I missed?
See, David is writing about being secure in the Lord in this Psalm. To understand this verse and why I believe the Lord gave it to me that morning, it's important to understand these three things:
God knows we have desires
Delighting in the Lord is deeper than going through the motions of making sure we pray every day and show up to church on Sunday. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, it's an "all our heart, all our soul, all our strength" experience; it's aligning our heart to His, which means...
The desires of our heart end up being better-aligned to His ways rather than our flesh; and when that happens we find ourselves delighting in the Lord even more
We are allowed to have desires and dreams; to want things. It is ok for us to desire marriage, having children, moving up in our jobs, getting plugged into ministry, reconciliation with friends and/or family, etc.
Being content does not require that I dismiss my desires, but it does require a spiritual shift of priorities.
Contentment is found in being submitted to the fact that God is not bound to acting within my desires, but rather within His will. It is possible to be content without ever having certain desires fulfilled. When we understand that, and learn how to want His will instead of our own way, we’ll know what it is to be truly, completely content.
Paul proves it in Philippians 4 -
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity;
If we're failing to find contentment in any area of our lives, we need to return back to the first half of Psalm 37:4 -
Delight yourself in the Lord...
The issue of our discontentedness is not on God, it's on us.
That can be a hard truth to accept, I know. It certainly has been for me at times. But the beautiful thing about God's Word is that it does not need my acceptance to be true.